Christmas is over, we survived yet another Holiday Season! With all of the hustle and bustle and the decorating and present buying and food cooking and family visiting, it is easy to feel just a little overwhelmed at this time of year. There area lot of pressures and responsibilities, some of which are unnecessarily invented for ourselves as we try to make the ‘perfect’ Holiday for our family and friends. For me, this was a nice Christmas, spent with just my family: My beautiful wife, my lovely young son, and I. I cooked a nice Christmas dinner, turkey, potatoes, stuffing, etc. but it didn’t seem like as much work as it was at Thanksgiving. It was really great to just be able to enjoy the holiday with family.
This really hit me as I was preparing a lesson for Elder’s Quorum yesterday from a talk given by President Uchtdorf this last General Conference, Of Things That Matter Most. Especially at this busy holiday season, it was nice to study and reflect on those things that really matter most. It was a good lesson, as well, with many great comments and discussion. I am very Socratic in my teaching method, asking question upon question, guiding the conversation and discussion. I love hearing what other people think.
And at this time of the year, when we reflect on what has passed and what will come, this was a subject worth studying. But what was interesting was that President Uchtdorf seemed to gloss over the standard answers we would expect when discussing what matters most. One might expect a list of “Go to Church, Read your scriptures, Pray, Serve others, Be good, etc.” But this was not the list that he put forth. In answer to his own question, “So what are the basics”, he said, “As we turn to our Heavenly Father and seek His wisdom regarding the things that matter most, we learn over and over again the importance of four key relationships: with our God, with our families, with our fellowman, and with ourselves.”
Relationships. That’s what President Uchtdorf said we need to focus on. Our relationship with our God, with our families, with our fellowman, and with ourselves. And as we discussed this yesterday, we came to the conclusion that this really is the basics upon which all other gospel principles are founded. Unless we have a strong, solid relationship with our Father in Heaven, we will not have the necessary desire to keep his commandments. And once we understand our relationship with our Father in Heaven, we know what our relationship with our families should be, and with our fellowman. We realize that we are all of us children of God, and loved by him. And developing a relationship with our God will definitely improve our relationship with ourselves. President Uchtdorf said, “Some people can’t get along with themselves. They criticize and belittle themselves all day long until they begin to hate themselves.” This is sad, but true. Some people allow things to take over their lives, they lose sight of what is truly important until they are doing what they know they shouldn’t be, and that’s when they begin to hate themselves, because “Wickedness never was happiness.” But having a relationship with God will show us that He loves us, and we will “learn to see yourself as Heavenly Father sees you—as His precious daughter or son with divine potential.”
This is what it all comes down to. Knowing God. The one thing that has always impressed me is what God chooses to call himself. Consider God for a moment, the Supreme, the Omnipotent, Omniscient, All-Powerful, Divine Creator of Everything that ever was or will be. Consider his infinite existence. And what is the title he chooses to be called, what does he want us to call him? Father. He wants that personal relationship with us that we share with our fathers. He wants to bless us, to give us what we need, because he loves us a Father.
But developing a relationship takes time. There is no way around it. If we want to get to know God we have to spend time with him, “For how knoweth a man the master whom he has not served, and who is a stranger unto him, and is far from the thoughts and intents of his heart?” Time is the greatest thing we have, since there will always only be a finite amount, once it is gone, it is gone forever. And there is never a time when we are doing nothing, doing nothing does not exist. We may be doing nothing important, or nothing worthwhile, but we are always doing something. And we can be using our nothing time to do something better.
That, then is my goal for this new year. With everything that I do, with all of the responsibilities and obligations that I have, I need to take time every once in a while and ponder on the Things That Matter Most. That will make a Happy New Year!